Esso apologises after Harpenden motorists fill up with contaminated fuel

The Tesco Express petrol station in Batford

The Tesco Express petrol station in Batford - Credit: Archant

Petrol giant Esso has apologised to motorists in Harpenden after more than 30 cars were filled with contaminated fuel, resulting in vehicles breaking down.

A spokesman for the company has admitted that on Wednesday September 10 customers bought contaminated fuel from the Tesco Esso Express station on Lower Luton Road in Batford.

He said that, “following a delivery error a quantity of diesel was placed into one of the unleaded 95 storage tanks at the station”.

Among those affected was nanny Sarah Homan, who said: “My car broke down after filling up with fuel from the Batford Tescos.”

Sarah was annoyed as the breakdown meant that the children she was looking after arrived late at school.

She added: “I normally fill up there but my car wouldn’t start. People at the station didn’t know what was going on. My car had to be towed to the garage, and it wasn’t just me as people were complaining about it on Facebook.”

The Herts Ad understands that the station manager was yelled at by at least one irate customer.

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After Sarah and other motorists began complaining about their cars breaking down, the station was closed.

The Esso spokesman said: “The service station was immediately shut down for investigation and no further product was sold. The contaminated fuel was removed and replaced with a fresh delivery.”

After Sarah complained to Esso she received an apology from the company, which admitted there was a “quality issue”.

Esso has offered to pay Sarah’s expenses, as her mechanic has since drained the diesel and is carrying out further work.

The firm’s spokesman added: “Esso wishes to apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers whose cars were affected by this incident.

“Site staff assisted those drivers whose vehicles were affected and we are working to reimburse affected customers.”

The spokesman said that every year there are over 200,000 fuel deliveries to Esso service stations across the UK and “such incidents are rare”.

He said the company took such contamination problems “very seriously and we will investigate fully.”